Biographing Realist Jurisprudence
Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law
August 18, 2010
Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 35, No. 3, p. 765, Summer 2010
This essay reexamines realist jurisprudence through a review of two biographies of leading realists: Dalia Tsuk Mitchell’s Architect of Justice: Felix Cohen and the Founding of American Legal Pluralism (2007), and Spencer Waller’s Thurman Arnold: A Biography (2005). The essay argues that when biographies of legal realists are considered alongside their academic writing, a more robust jurisprudence emerges. Realist lives crystallize the intuition that the major innovation of legal realism was not, as generally assumed, its attitude toward judges and adjudication. Instead, realist jurisprudence is an institutionalist view of law with a focus on groups rather than individuals. Realist jurisprudence understands courts, legislatures, administrative agencies, and nongovernmental groups as important loci of law, lawmaking, and legal reasoning.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Biography, Legal Theory, Jurisprudence, Legal Realism, Legal History
JEL Classification: K19
Date posted: August 19, 2010
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